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'Exemplary youth': Local teen making her mark in Bradford

'It is very exciting to think that my story can be an inspiration to other young people,' Brooke Wappel says of winning Junior Citizen of the Year Award
Brooke Wappel (centre) is shown accepting the Junior Citizen of the Year Award during this summer's Canada Day festivities. She is flanked by Bradford Mayor James Leduc, right, and Coun. Cheraldean Duhaney.

Brooke Wappel, 17, has lived in Bradford West Gwillimbury for most of her life. She has been volunteering since she was in elementary school. Currently, she attends the Country Day School in King City. 

On July 1, Wappel was awarded the Junior Citizen on the Year Award at the town’s Canada Day celebration.

While presenting the award, Coun. Cheraldean Duhaney spoke highly of the local teen. 

“Brooke does absolutely everything she can to give back to our community and strives to make a difference in our town and her peers around her," Duhaney said.

"Brooke is an exemplary youth of our community who consistently strives for success," the councillor. "For all of these reasons and many more, we are proud to award Brooke Wappel with this years' Junior Citizen of the Year Award.”

Wappel says she enjoys being involved in the community.

“I love participating in pretty much anything that I can become involved in," Wappel told BradfordToday. "I like to keep busy and seek opportunities that will allow me to contribute to the communities around me in a meaningful way.

"I have found that my volunteering experiences have helped me to grow so much as a person. The volunteering that I’ve done to this point has definitely helped to shape my perspective of the world and establish a mindset for considering others and thinking about the people around me," Wappel added.

In elementary school, Wappel was curious about election signs and thought other kids might be, too. So, she set up a mock municipal election to help fellow students understand the electoral process.

Some years later, she was involved in the early stages of the Bradford West Gwillimbury Youth Advisory Committee. She served on the committee and also designed the logo for it.

Wappel also volunteers at St. John’s Presbyterian Church by preparing the Sunday morning service and children’s story, and at the Cedarview Community Church’s nursery and school-aged programs and its vacation Bible school.

Besides contributing to the community at large, Wappel has also received awards for participation in a wide range of school activities. She has stepped into various school-related volunteer opportunities including student council (incoming co-president for 2023-24), house captain (2021-22), student lead for daily announcements and dining hall representative (2022-23), student mentor and ambassador (every year since 2016), and Pathways to People (2017-18) where she helped to deliver food to the food bank and encouraged donations to charities during holiday seasons.

In citing reasons why Wappel received the Junior Citizen of the Year Award, Duhaney said she is “an extremely dedicated community contributor" who has earned "countless awards for her sportsmanship, volunteer work and many academic awards.” 

The town councillor went on to say: “She has participated on many teams, helped the youth at St. John’s Presbyterian Church. Brooke won the logo submission for BWG's council, and has even been awarded the prestigious Jane Hayes Award, Director of Junior School Award and was recently voted as student council president.”

Wappel says she was thrilled to win the Junior Citizen of the Year Award. 

“It is very exciting to think that my story can be an inspiration to other young people," she said. "By sharing the types of things that I’ve been involved in and highlighting the positive impact that these experiences are having on my life, I hope that it may spark an interest and draw positive attention to the value in volunteering."

Wappel has not decided on a future career yet.

“The one thing I am certain of is that wherever I land, I will continue to volunteer," she said.